Broken and brilliant. Scarred and strong. Flawed and FEARCE.
Hi, I’m Janey. Singer/ Performer, Wellness Leader, Performance Mindset Coach and – f*ck it – I’m a Rockstar.
There’s no way of counting how many songs I’ve written… there is literally a lifetime supply.
Over the last 2 decades I’ve performed in front of thousands of people and spent over ten thousand hours practising.
I became a Wellness Professional over a decade ago and have led hundreds of yoga, fitness and meditation classes.
I’ve recorded songs in world renowned studios and coached some of the best athletes in the NHL.
I’ve been praised, ridiculed, put on a pedestal and knocked on my ass.
I’ve been signed, independent, rich, poor, up, down and everything in between.
As fiercely as I live my life, I’m also a flawed human being who has spent a lot more time than an Instagram feed would have you believe- in fear.
Heartbreak. Failure. Loss.
I’ve been through it all in both my music and wellness careers and upon facing some of my deepest, darkest fears I was able to create perhaps my greatest win yet: the “Performance Mindset Program.”
This is my story.
Before I was verbal I was musical. Before I could walk I would dance.
At age 7 I was performing solo acts to the full “Lion King” soundtrack for my family… twice a day.
By age 8 I was using the front porch of my childhood home in the 1000 Islands, as a stage for my entire neighbourhood to come and watch.
By the time I turned 10 I was performing publicly with the Saint Lawrence Stage Company for my whole city.
Every spring and summer beyond that point I spent my days in rehearsal halls, crowded dressing rooms and under the big bright lights on stage.
We often did 40+ shows a summer so as you can imagine, I didn’t live an average childhood compared to most. However, this was normal for me. This was home for me. And I lived for and loved every second of this place where I felt deeply connected.
In the beginning, I was fearless…. unstoppable and completely liberated from the troubles of my life onstage.
By the time I hit my first year of high school, the combination of bullies, bad skin, body issues and beginning to perform solo triggered the start my stage fright.
At that time, every flaw and fear I had was amplified inside.
My strict rehearsal schedule and eccentric lifestyle consistently had me feeling like an outcast among my peers.
I was terrified of being lonely.
This is when a negative cycle formed.
I would get daily anxiety sometimes up to a month before a new performance, which would grow in intensity the closer it came to showtime.
24-48 hours before the performance I just all around wouldn’t eat.
I’d arrive to the venue the night of the show, find a bathroom stall and have a meltdown.
Unsanitary as they may be, bathroom stalls always ended up being the sanctuary for me to break apart.
No matter how broken I felt in those moments though, the phrase “The Show Must Go On” was too deeply ingrained in me to make me quit.
So I’d dry my eyes, re-apply my makeup and walk onstage.
Here’s the crazy part…. I would always slay.
My anguish would be put on pause and the audience would wildly applaud.
Then, I’d walk offstage and go back to feeling like a fraud.
I was never good enough.
I’d be so hungry from not eating and so disappointed in myself for what a failure I thought I was, that I’d go home, eat all the food I could find and… vomit.
*Bulimia is an emotional disorder involving distortion of self image.
I struggled with this negative cycle for years and not a single person knew.
Not my parents, coaches, friends or my cast members.
I was too ashamed to reveal who I was once the curtains closed.
So outwardly I was this star that lived to entertain everyone… inwardly I was just a scared, broken little girl who felt entirely unlovable.
The problem was that I had no idea how to love myself without my talents, so I thought I needed to be perfect in my talents to be loved.
Being perfect onstage was the ultimate defence I had against being rejected off stage, where I felt so disconnected.
Later though, I learned that striving for perfection was the perfect path to self-destruction.
I left home at 17, enrolled in the Music Theatre Performance program at St. Lawrence College for one year, then dropped out to move to Toronto and pursue my solo singing career.
There, the Universe became my university… and I studied day and night.
I had to learn how to do everything myself (recording, managing, styling, booking, marketing, business), including fending off the many shady characters that looked at a small town 18 year old girl the way a lawyer would look at lamb chops:
In the process of finding myself as an artist I went through a slew of identity phases:
“Janey B” the r&b singer
“Marella Jane” the aggressive front woman of an industrial rock band
“Janey Brown” the EDM feature artist, pop diva and corporate events singer
“@Janeybworld” the entrepreneur, wellness leader, speaker, performer and ‘rockstar’…
“Janey” the woman forever learning.
Life was fast paced with travelling, recording, stages of all types, photoshoots, music videos, yoga studios and personal training.
Being productive, active, successful, talented and in the spotlight was the only way I knew how to love myself.
I became a professional at getting lost in late nights of rehearsals and recording and in full days of teaching and leading to keep my mind off of how deeply flawed and unloved I still felt.
Even though my careers in music and wellness were taking off, I didn’t feel like I was truly living in my purpose because I wasn’t being honest about the degree of fear and pain I had inside of me.
I eventually became exhausted, uninspired, stuck and broke as f*ck.
The stress of my life peaked my pre-existing anxiety and eventually compromised my immune system, my vocal ability and mental health.
It wasn’t until I lost my voice for close to a year that I decided to part company with the Grammy Award winning producer I was working with and file a release from my U.S. recording contract.
Don’t get it twisted. The release may have been my call… but I was devastated.
It was also however, a catalyst for one of the biggest transformations in my life.
I immediately had to stop teaching all of my classes and stop singing.
I was forced to slow down entirely, get into therapy 2x a week and deepen my mindfulness & meditation practises.
There I came to understand the depths of the famous quote by french composer Claude Debussy:
“Music happens in the spaces between the notes.”
My internal and external healing was a long process and will always be a work in progress, but the self awareness I gained by creating space in my life, allowed me to illuminate my darkest fears and become whole with them.
With no voice or stage to make me feel powerful and no hectic lifestyle to mask my vulnerability, I had to learn to find acceptance and love for ALL parts of who I am; not just the girl who only knows a world of performance, applause and bright lights, but the girl who knows a world of imperfections, anxiety and breakdowns.
The love I developed for the parts of me with with cracks, scars and flaws, transformed me from being a ‘rockstar’ that shines onstage……into a “star” that lights the way for others to find connection and self worth and a “rock” that grounds people in courage.
I no longer felt like a badass because of what I did in my careers, but because of who I had become from the inside out.
I learned that my greatest accolades were acquired not once I reached my goals, but during my struggles to work towards them.
If I had to do it again, I would still choose my Grit over Grammys. Self Love over Stardom. Connection over Cash.
These are what I have to show for my lifetime achievements.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that my inability to love myself was the core cause of my stage fright.
Once I found my path back to getting onstage again as my most authentic self, I wrote it down in a 5 step process, now known as the Performance Mindset Program.
I can confidently say that since I completed this process, I have yet to come off stage feeling anything other than proud of myself.
Now those of you who have been following my journey, know that I have a company called “FEARCE ACADEMY INC” and may have been wondering why I spell FEARCE with and “EA.”
This is not a typo.
I do this to remind us that our FEAR is not a weakness meant to be extinguished, but rather a tool to build the strength and bravery needed to be fierce in life.
We are not beautiful and FEAR/CE in spite of our flaws, we are beautiful and FEARCE because of them.
So be brave enough to face your fears. “Be Seen”- flaws and all.
“Love yourself: Not just for the prizes you’ve won, but for the trouble you’ve brought upon yourself. Not just for the side of you that feels the sun, but for the one that hides in the shadows. Not just when you smile, but for smiling when the tears come. You are not whole without your imperfections… and as a whole you deserve love.” – Janey